White, Graham, Buckley & Carr LLC partners Bryan White, Bill Carr and Gene Graham have secured a $19 million settlement with Citgo, the defendant in a high-profile class-action lawsuit arising from the defendants’ manufacturing and sale of so-called 303 tractor hydraulic fluid. The team was assisted by co-counsel Tom Bender and Dirk Hubbard of Horn Aylward & Bandy as well as attorney Clayton Jones.
The firm and its co-counsel initially filed suit on behalf of dozens of Missouri consumers after investigations revealed that the defendants had misleadingly labeled the tractor hydraulic fluid (THF), which then exposed purchasers’ equipment to increased wear and damage when the product was purchased and used in tractors and other hydraulic equipment.
Citgo, which continues to deny the allegations, agreed to pay nearly $19 million to consumers across the United States who purchased the 303 tractor fluid. In total, the suit covers consumers who bought MileMaster 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid, H-K 303 Tractor Transmission Hydraulic Fluid, Orscheln Premium 303 Tractor Hydraulic & Transmission Fluid and SuperTech 303 Tractor Hydraulic Oil.
The plaintiffs alleged the tractor hydraulic fluid was mislabeled as to the benefits the fluid provided and mislabeled as “303” THF, an obsolete designation discontinued in the 1970s after the use of sperm whale oil – a main ingredient in the original 303 formulation – was outlawed. Despite the fact the 303 designation is obsolete and that there is no known 303 specification against which the defendants’ fluid could be measured, the defendants sold tractor hydraulic fluid as “303 THF” in retail stores throughout Missouri.
On March 6, Chief District Judge Beth Phillips of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri approved the proposed class-action settlement. A final hearing is set for October 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.